Respect, Empathy, and Understanding

“You deserve very little credit for being what you are” Dale Carnegie

When I read this quote, it took awhile to sink in.

Let me start off with a story.  I was waiting for my Daughter at school a few weeks ago.  The day was unseasonable cold…-36 with wind chill if I remember right. My mind had wandered and was consumed with worrying about Dad’s surgery. I didn’t even notice when a Mom passed by me pushing a stroller along with her other (not happy) daughter whom she had picked up from school.  The reason I can tell you she passed by me is because I only noticed her after she said to me “thanks a lot for helping me with the door” in the most sarcastic of tones. She slammed the door behind her and huffed away with a trail of whirling snow in her wake.

At first I was taken aback. How dare she be so rude to me when I didn’t even notice her in my bewildered state!  Only moments later did I realize however, that I was preoccupied with worry, and perhaps she too was having a bad day.  I happened to be there at the height of her frustration.   I wish I could have found her after I had time to process it all, because I wanted to tell her “Forgive me for not noticing you, I was preoccupied.  I remember the days of fighting to get out the door with babies and running around. I hope your day gets better.”  Years ago, I would have thought that reaction was passive, but now I realize it’s because I understand her frustrations.

We are all a product of our environment: how we were raised, our past, our present, and the experiences that we have gone through, make us who we are today.  So to me, the quote above means just that.  I am also trying to not take things personally!  I don’t believe the woman would have been so sarcastic on a different day had she been in a different frame of mind.  Again, it’s releasing expectations on others.

Kindness, respect, empathy, and understanding go a loooong way.

I had two choices over that situation, I could have carried that annoyance home, or I could have tried to understand where she was coming from.  I believe most people just want to be heard, to have a voice, to be understood, and wish for others to empathize with their situation.  When someone vents to me, it’s rarely because they want a solution. Most often it’s because they want to be heard.  Another area that I need to work on is listening!  Truly listening.

The only way I see to avoid getting bogged down by daily annoyances is to not let them annoy you. Just let it go! Understand. Relate. Empathize.

Life is too short to be filled with anger.  It’s all about perspective.

Peace! 🙂

Wishing you a day full of understanding…from my heart to yours,